Publications: ISO Studies

ISO studies are prepared with the aim of providing concise review and analysis of often fast-moving issues and developments arising within the current economic and political environment of the world sugar market.

The following ISO Studies publications are currently available:

CIS Countries: Sugar Situation and Outlook - MECAS(17)05

For nearly two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia and neighbouring countries were among the main destinations for sugar traded internationally. Recently the region has become nearly self-sufficient in sugar. But can the CIS countries maintain and continue to further expand their beet sugar production. In this study the ISO examines the situation in eleven individual CIS countries, looking into major trends, key drivers and future prospects for sugar production, consumption and trade and provides an assessment of the region’s sugar supply and demand by 2025.

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Alternative Sweeteners Revisited: Major Developments and Growth - MECAS(17)06

This paper reviews developments and prospects for both the key caloric and non-caloric alternatives to sugar. Attention is first focussed on high fructose syrup and prospective developments in the US, China and the EU - where production and consumption of isoglucose (the European term for HFS) is set to grow markedly once production quotas are removed in October this year. In the second part of the study attention is turned to high intensity sweeteners including the well-established legacy sweeteners - all synthetic/chemical - including saccharin, cyclamate, aspartame and acesulfame-K, as well as second generation artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, neotame and advantame. “Natural HIS” (derived from sources such as leaves, berries and fruits) are considered separately, including stevia sweeteners, Luo Han Guo and sweet proteins (such as Thaumatin). The final section of the study addresses the question of whether alternative sweeteners have yet caused meaningful changes to sweetener consumption patterns at a global level, and whether sugar demand will suffer losses to alternative sweeteners in coming years.

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Certified Sugar, GM Sugar and Sustainability - MECAS(17)07 £355

Sustainability initiatives, with a growing focus on production processes and the environment, have developed in unison with the growing demands from food and beverage companies for sustainably produced commodities which meet required standards related to human rights, labour working conditions and environmental impacts. Proponents of GM crops promote them as innovative, science-based technologies that contribute to achieving sustainability. A key question is how might GM sugar integrate with the major sustainability certification standards? This study conducts a literature review of academic papers on the debate over the sustainability of GM crops to examine whether they can, indeed, be sustainable and integrated with current certified sustainable sugar initiatives.

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Foreign Direct Investment and Mergers and Acquisitions in the World - MECAS(16)17

This paper provides a comprehensive stocktaking of the major mergers and acquisitions and foreign direct investment flows (M&A/FDI) - including joint ventures - in the world sugar industry over the past 5 years. Pressures created by falling world sugar prices and depressed margins from 2011 until earlier this year have stymied M&A/FDI activity. Even so, there is evidence that some large producing companies have continued to integrate operations across their entire supply chain to rationalise costs and boost margins, as well as to enhance geographical coverage and to diversify operations through M&A/FDI activity. The period also features several major divestments. Several deals have transpired to transform the competitive sugar trading and distribution business.

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Industrial and Direct Sugar Consumption – an International Survey - MECAS(16)18

In 2010, the ISO provided a pioneering work on gathering statistics on direct and Industrial consumption of sugar in different countries. The new survey updates key data pertaining to the structure of sugar use with the goal of enhancing the understanding of the key drivers of sugar consumption by the food and beverages sector. In the survey, sugar consumption data are collected from 38 countries and the European Union. The surveyed countries were responsible for 75% of global sugar consumption in 2015. According to the survey, in global terms, overall consumption shows an average annual growth by 1.92%, which can be compared to only 0.40% for direct consumption while an average growth rate of industrial use is as high as 2.7% and that of sugar use by soft drink manufacturers is even higher (nearly 4.0% a year).

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Sugar and Health - MECAS(16)05

Drawing from a range of sources, this study provides an overview of the main elements underpinning the “sugar and health” debate with the objective of separating fact from fiction. While there is abundant evidence to support the consumption of sugar as part of a healthy diet, there is insufficient evidence to suggest a link between total sugar intake and the prevalence of obesity. Nevertheless, demands for further regulation and taxation against sugary products are growing. This paper begins with an analysis of diets’ composition and sugar consumption worldwide. It then examines key scientific facts and recent recommendations related to “sugar and health”. The drivers and reactions to the current “sugar backlash” are analyzed from the point of view of consumers and food and beverage companies. Lastly, this study delves into the issue of taxation as a means to influence food prices and diets.

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Prospects for Thailand's Sugar Industry - MECAS(16)07

Thailand’s sugar industry is one of the largest worldwide, in 2015 producing around 11 mln tonnes and exporting almost 8 mln tonnes. The objective in this study is to assess the sugar industry’s outlook over the coming decade by examining key drivers including: government policy and targets for the sector, the potential for cane area expansion; prospects for cane yields/quality; milling sector developments; as well as sugar consumption prospects. A key focal point is the relative success the Thai sugar industry has attained in adding value by diversifying into cane bagasse cogeneration and into fuel ethanol production.

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World Trade of Molasses, Beet Pulp and By-product - MECAS(16)06

The study is dedicated to reviewing recent fundamental developments and identifying the key drivers of the world trade in molasses and beet pulp, by-products of the sugar industry. Although molasses and beet pulp are used mostly domestically, about 7% of world output of molasses and 15% of global production of beet pulp are exported to the world market. Molasses and beet pulp have only little value as compared to sugar, but sales of molasses and beet pulp abroad help generate additional income for the sugar industry with relatively low overheads.

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India: Future Sugar Industry Prospects - MECAS(15)19

India is currently the world’s largest consumer and the second largest producer of sugar. In the past, the national sugar balance regularly moved from surplus to deficit and back. Since 2010/11 the country’s sugar balance has shown an excess of production over domestic demand, season after season. A key issue addressed by the paper is the likelihood of the return of the sugar cycle. The ISO suggests that huge year-on-year drops in production below the level of domestic consumption are unlikely, at least in the coming three to five years assuming normal weather conditions. The surplus character of the balance may be altered but difficult-to-predict changes in the government sugar policy or a significant increase in cane use for ethanol production.

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Organic, Fairtrade and Specialty Sugars - MECAS(15)18

Organic, Fairtrade and specialty sugars for much of the past decade have seen fast growing niche markets, albeit together they are thought to presently account for less than 0.5% of world sugar consumption and production. With these niche sugars reputedly attracting sometimes significant pricing premiums over conventional sugar, and with on going strong fundamentals expected to support continued growth in demand for organic products in key markets, can offtake of niche sugars keep growing at strong rates? This study investigates the markets for organic, Fairtrade and specialty sugars with a view to better understanding recent market developments at the global, regional and country levels. Key markets and suppliers are identified and examined. Data are also collated on production, exports and price premiums.

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Adding Value Through Bio-Products - MECAS(15)17

Advances in technology have created numerous pathways to produce bio-chemicals and advanced biofuels through sugars present in agricultural crops and waste. A growing number of companies are considering the market potential for renewable molecules with a view to capturing higher margins. For the sugar sector, specifically, there are opportunities to create value-added solutions by exploiting existing and new resources while tapping into growing demand for bio-based materials. This report updates and expands MECAS(09)17 by investigating the potential for commercialization of cane and beet bio-products technology in the context of competing feedstocks and recent developments in crude oil prices.

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